Matthew 12:31-32: “And so I tell you, every kind of sin and slander can be forgiven, but blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven. Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but anyone who speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come.”

A demon-possessed, blind and mute person was brought to Jesus, and He cast out the demons and healed him. The formerly blind and mute person now spoke and was able to see. Everybody was amazed, except a group of religious leaders who tried very hard to downplay a miracle of God (Matthew 12:24):

“But when the Pharisees heard this, they said, “It is only by Beelzebul, the prince of demons, that this fellow drives out demons.”

Religious leaders are supposed to know God, and they would fight you tooth and nail if you said otherwise. I personally doubt that Jesus’s contemporaries who critiqued His every move really knew God because their behavior did not show it. However, the trick is, they said so. Saying we know God on one hand and slandering God’s deeds on the other insults the Holy Spirit, and for such behavior, Jesus says, there is no forgiveness left. Why? Well, here is a surprise: God cannot forgive a person who thinks he or she is right. This seems to be the only limit to God’s mercy.

Similar to the situation with a tax collector and a religious leader who both prayed in the temple, the tax collector humbly asked for forgiveness, while the religious leader essentially congratulated himself in his prayer. Jesus points out that these two prayers have two very different outcomes (Luke 18:14):

[Jesus said] “I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”

The only lid we can put on God’s mercy is me, myself and I. We can be the lid. We have the power to limit God’s mercy by simply stating: “I don’t need it.”

On a different note: do you think we have issues with mercy when we always try to find a reason NOT to forgive? Why do we try so hard to find boundary lines to God’s amazing grace, e.g.: “this is how far God’s mercy goes, surely God can’t forgive that!” Isn’t it interesting that we like to use the term “The sky is the limit” when it comes to success, dreams, and ambitions, but when it comes to God’s mercies we want to put a lid on? The truth is: There is no lid on God’s mercy. His mercies are new every morning according to prophet Jeremiah (Lamentations 3:22-23):

“Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.”

There is a reason why we are born naked and can’t take anything with us when we die. All we really need is God, especially His tender mercies, every waking day.

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